Saturday, January 30, 2010

7 things

Many thanks to Maria from "My full time life", for nominating me for the Kreativ Blogger award. She has a very busy and happy life and is always upbeat, even after nature re-arranges things!

I need to disclose seven things about myself that you may not have known. Wow, I've been so honest here that I feel you know all about me already....

1 - In my 40's I took some college courses. Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Economics, Access - Excel - Word. Got A's. Stopped going. I felt that it would take too long to get a degree at one course per semester. I was already working two jobs and couldn't do it any faster.

2 - Do I regret it? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I don't like to sit still and can't picture myself in a suit behind a desk, or staying up working on a computer at 11:30 at night. I didn't want the headaches or the agita. No use looking back now. I'm pretty much satisfied.

3 - I most often spend Friday nights and Saturdays with my 90 year old mother, who recently suffered a bad fall from standing on a kitchen stepstool, trying to reach the cabinet over the fridge. She is where I get my streak of independence. Only in recent years have I come to appreciate how strong she was all her life. She never wanted much but if there was something she did want, she would make it happen. (Thus, our trip to Ireland when I was in high school.)

4 - In high school I wore my hair long with those two thin braids from the center part, hippie style. I also had one of those India-inspired dresses with the tiny mirrors embroidered on the front.

5 - After keeping my hair short for the past few decades, I am letting the layers grow out. When it gets long enough to put in those two thin braids again, I'll post a picture….maybe... I might have to look through Goodwill for a mirror dress :)

6 - I haven't gone to a movie theater since I took my grandchildren to see the Incredibles. Folks at work can’t understand why I don’t know the actors they mention. But then, they don't know who William Powell was, or Charles Laughton, or.....

7 – I’m trying to get my life in order, sort things out, and live a peaceful existence.

Now I am to nominate others for this award. Please don't consider me as wimping out but I feel that every blogger I have met is creative. I am inspired by all the blogs I read as I trip the 'net fantastic. If you so choose, please post seven things about yourself that you have not posted before. I'd enjoy reading your list, too!

Friday, January 29, 2010

One Small Change - January recap

Two days left for the month, but I'll post my results now since the weekend is looking busy...

The surprisingly pleasant benefit of Hip Mountain Mama's One Small Change challenge is the extra coin in my pocket. I thought my grocery bills would increase by buying more fresh fruit and vegetables, but that has been offset by the reduction in beef purchases along with the fact that I've only had ONE fast food meal out this month (it was mystery meat that they claimed was beef). I stopped for a quick meal in between leaving the doctor and picking up a prescription to knock out some chest congestion. A burger and fries just seemed like a good idea at the time, but was disappointing, as I should have guessed.

I'm still eating mostly grains and legumes as my main sources of protein, but also eat fish, and had chicken twice in January. Fresh steamed or stir-fried veggies fill most of my plate, although a few meals during that cold were bowls of soup. Interestingly, I only had three pasta meals this month. One with a homemade sauce using what was on hand. The others were cold tuna and pasta salads which I prefer to tuna fish sandwiches packed in my lunchbag.

Speaking of lunch, I keep thinking of this post to make my own sandwich wraps and snack bags. Last week Rob posted a similar idea, using the inner bag from a box of cereal. Well, lo and behold! The inner bag from Whole Foods wheat crackers (kinda like Triscuits) is extremely strong, so I cut the edges off and it makes a terrific sandwich wrap. For now I slap a rubber band around it and it holds everything together nicely. Nothing has spilled inside my lunch bag. (I'll try to make this more presentable by using some stretch elastic from my sewing stash and wrapping it in the cloth napkin I take to work.) If I can turn another one of these into a liner for a snack pouch, I may have eliminated a large part of my plastic usage. Rob has also used liners to cover a dish in the microwave, so I've got to try that.

Getting back to the Challenge; what I learned during the first month was that grains and legumes are very satisfying and keep my appetite down. By adding things like winter squash, I've even passed on desserts 90 percent of the month. Now that's sweet.

My goal for February is to try cold-brewed coffee as a way to eliminate brewing a carafe each morning, thus saving electric usage. I'll start over the weekend so I can play with the amounts.

Another update is from my "Better List". I signed up for guitar lessons through continuing ed in the town next to me.

January was a pretty good month.....(Insert sigh and smile.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I'll be watching, will you?

Don’t call me Wednesday night, I won’t answer. I will either be glued to the television or have my ear up to the radio to hear the State of the Union Speech. Why all the interest? According to this article in the NYTimes, there will be proposed cuts in the State of the Union speech on Wednesday. However, these will be cuts in domestic spending. Quoted directly from the article: “The administration officials said the part of the budget they have singled out — $447 billion in domestic programs — amounts to a relatively small share, about one-eighth, of the overall federal budget.”

Also from the article, “The estimated $250 billion in savings over 10 years would be less than 3 percent of the roughly $9 trillion in additional deficits the government is expected to accumulate over that time.” $250 billion in savings sounds impressive, but when you average it over the 10 years it equals $25 billion per year, which is literally – pennies.

Another thing to consider is the reaction that the elected officials will have to the proposed cuts. Since these will affect domestic spending, and they are coming up on running for office again this year, will they support the cuts? Are they willing to risk upsetting their constituents? (Congress only approved approximately three-fifths of the cuts that were proposed in last year’s budget.)

Our founding fathers wanted America to be “By the people, for the people”, and not have the government run the banks or the auto and health industries. Are there too many entitlements, too many lobbyists, too many specialty programs, too much pork? Are we handing over too much authority to the elected officials, or are they simply not listening to us? What about an honest look at what we need, and fund those programs. Remember the stimulus, giving money to the banks after they made all those foolish loans? Did they really deserve to be pumped up with our money?

Please read the article. And tell me what YOU think. And listen tomorrow night.

Full disclosure: I am neither Republican nor Democrat. I vote based on the record of the candidate. I welcome your point of view on the subject of how our government is working, since it is by listening that we learn.

Winter reading

Like everyone else who clicks on that first link I have travelled through posts, some of which I cannot find again. As in the case a few weeks ago where I found a blogger posting about The Worst Hard Time, the true account of the lives of those who lived through the Midwest Dust Storms of the 1930’s. I would like to thank that blogger for writing about this book. And because I have not been able to find that post to offer a link, I now have a pencil and paper near my computer for my future e-travels.

I’ve been tucked away for these few weeks, devouring the information in this book (due back at the library today). It was not a quick read, but a valuable one.

Timothy Egan’s The Worst Hard Time is a thorough account of the downfall of the Plains, by way of political and agricultural destruction. There are so many revealing moments in his book for those of us who are too young or live far enough away so that we only skimmed over it in grade school, or read about it in The Grapes of Wrath. This is a combination of first-hand account and historical research. By interviews with survivors, articles from the local newspapers, and sections of a diary secretly kept by one farmer, we learn the real costs of our aggressive growth in the Midwest during the first part of the 1900s. By killing off the bison, giving away land with the Homestead Acts, and encouraging wheat farming during the First World War, our government set up the scenario for us to become our own worst enemy.

There are no single events that overshadow the others, but one that is so haunting today is that of the bankers who took deposited money to buy stock in wheat, which of course dropped, carrying the Midwest into the Depression. Somewhat similar to the banks that recently lent money for risky mortgages. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It seems that in our greed, we have not learned.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Wasted space is what I call it. It couldn’t quite be considered a black hole, since things are retrievable once they’ve entered this area. But my current kitchen cabinets are considerably inefficient for me. Not the lack of them. Quite the opposite. I think there are too many cubby holes for the way I cook. This kitchen, with 5 drawers, 10 overhead doors and 5 base cabinets, not to mention the area under the sink, would be ample for someone who cooks for a family of four every night of the week. I, on the other hand, can cook every second, third, or fourth night and skip a few more nights by opening a can of tuna. So why is all this unused stuff in this drawer?

There are 88 items in this photo, most of which I have not used in the past two years. At this time I would not part with any of the items. Okay, maybe the second plastic salad tongs or the third tea strainer, but that’s all. I couldn’t possibly toss the vintage Chock Full O’ Nuts coffee scoops. They’re collectors’ items, aren’t they? Or the 8 different gadgets I have for opening jars and cans. They’re non-electric, you see, and I try to be energy efficient. But I sorted through everything using the “what would I take if I could only carry what I really needed” criteria. This is what it boiled down to.

A vegetable peeler is an absolute necessity. So is a good knife sharpener. A mini grater and a pizza cutter are multi-tasking, so they stay. And the beaters that go with my hand mixer can not be lost. Are you wondering about the empty tuna can? I have two of them that I’ve saved for many years. Someone once told me that they were perfect for making “mcmuffin” style eggs, and they are. Just a quick blast of non-stick spray and set in a pan with an inch of water, and your egg will look beautiful on that English muffin. They also can make a cute little two layer cake for you (and a friend?) to enjoy at home after you’ve taken a large cake to a party. Just pour a little of the batter into two tins and bake along with the regular cake, but for a shorter baking time.

Finally, the "after" photo. Two drawers combined into one that fits my cooking habits (minus the flatware that's drying in the dish drainer now). The rest is packed away.

Now it's time to think about the "junk" drawer......

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Odds and ends

I've been down for the past few days with a cold. It started with a scratchy throat a week ago, and I thought I could keep ahead of it with moist steam, saline spray, lots and lots of fluids, over the counter meds, and homemade chicken soup, but this one was stubborn. It's settling into my chest, so I turned to my doctor who sanctioned everything I had tried but said it's time to give in to antibiotics. I'm hoping that feeling worse today means the stuff is working....?

Rob, the Master of Make-Do and constant inspiration in the creativity department over at Rob's World, is a voice of social conciousness. His posts on energy awareness have inspired me many times. One of his latest finds is a solar light from Ikea. The best part is that Ikea will send one of these solar lights to a child in Pakistan for every light sold. I've put in my order. But wait! If you are a regular reader of Rob's blog, you would have read about his give-away. He has one of these solar lights that he will give to a lucky reader who comments by January 24th. Check it out. While you're there you might want to catch up on Romeo, the cutest li'l dog there could be.

For all you thrifters out there, and you know who you are, making that weekly run to the second-hand stores, waiting impatiently for the start of yard sale season, admiring your best friends grandmother's wedding ring.....there's a new show on cable called American Pickers. Now these guys really have good sources. I would LOVE to go scouting through the old barns they were climbing through on the show that aired Monday night. Everything was rusted, a key sign of good ol' stuff. Not that I need the rusted shell of an old Vespa, or a carnival kiddy ride, but I have this space on my deck that could use a twelve foot tall operating advertising sign from the mid-twentieth century.....

Please keep the people of Haiti in mind. Along with all the doctors, nurses, and volunteers who have gone to help. Also, the troops who are there to protect the peace and calm the survivors.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happiness 101 award

A truly nice person presented 10 bloggers with the Happy Blog award, moi included! Thank you to Scattering Lupines, who stopped by one day last year and became a good friend. I did not set out to write a pointedly *happy* blog, but a realistic one based on my daily life and observations. If I have created any happiness in this blogosphere then I am very pleased! I think that *happiness* comes from making a new acquaintance, someone whom we may never have spent time with due to our differences, and finding out that we are not so different after all.

Now, getting down to business, my first duty is to list 10 things that make me happy. Here’s the short list:

1 – my family
For the love, support, and caring of my family, no matter if they are nearby or far away. Whether we converse daily or haven’t spoken in months. For those we’ve known, and for extended family we meet in tracing our roots. For all our history that keeps us close. For the young, new members of our family and the older generations who keep us under their wings. This is the inner warmth in my heart.

2 – your family
Let me explain! When I’m getting in my car, it makes me happy to see you lifting your child so he can put the quarter in the parking meter. When I pass you in the mall, it’s so good to see you explain how something works to your child instead of dismissing her questions. I love to see all the parents standing on the sidelines while their children are running around a soccer field. I can’t wait for spring to see parents helping their children fly kites in the April winds.

3 – friends
For those who accept us as we are, and understand that we don’t all have to like the same things. And those who offer a hand, or accept help from us, understanding that friendship is never one-sided.

4 – nature
Enjoying the warmth of the sun on a spring day, seeing the new green shoots emerging from the dirt by the edge of a running brook, watching birds catching food to bring to their newly hatched babies, listening to the silence of the softly falling snow, smelling the basil and tomatoes when I brush past them in the garden, and so much more

5 – reading and learning
Whether I’m linking through blogs on the internet and stumble on thrifting in Australia, or reading true accounts of the dust storms in the 30’s, I appreciate learning about the world outside my door. From my mother and the librarians in my elementary school, the love of books was ingrained in me.

6 – treats
Italian Ice on a hot day. Take out General Tsao’s Chicken, fried rice, eggrolls, and fortune cookies enjoyed with a crowd of family or friends. Buying a special pastry from a really good bakery.

7 – satisfaction of a job well done
Maybe it’s completing a task at work that seemed almost impossible, or putting the last nails into a lean-to for the horses. Knowing that you did everything you could to make something of quality.

8 – Good music, a good play or old movie, great art or design. I like listening to all types of music, and sometimes just put on jazz24 online or a Mildred Bailey cd. I was fascinated by some very old (silent) movies last week, and enjoy some of the older (1940 – 50’s) movies more than some of those out now.

9 – Paying my bills. It’s not getting the pay deposited in my account that makes me happy. It’s being able to pay my own way. I look at the paid utility bills, mortgage, and taxes as an accomplishment.

10 – All of you. I’m happy to have *met* each of you and know that the best is yet to come!

My next task is to award more bloggers with this Happy 101 award. I don’t know how to narrow it down to just ten! I have so many, many blogs bookmarked as favorites on my laptop. Each and every one is different and special. If you are reading this and write a blog then I think you should partake in this, because I probably catch up on your activities, too. And that makes me happy.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It is exactly as I thought it would be, only different

I put my goals on hold for the past few years while I tend to business. Before I can semi-retire to the nest of my choosing, I am spending some time where I am needed. This detour in my journey has affected me in many ways. My job was not what I wanted. The car that I had paid off years earlier was hit and totaled. I had left behind both family and friends that I miss. Admittedly, it has been slightly depressing.
But time has a way of sorting things out, once there is enough data to sort.

I’ve met new folks, and go out of my way to speak to people I don’t know. My eagerness to discover has led me to new places looking for adventure. Exercise takes me places where I’ve never been. And even the unpleasant things that happen to all of us can make us better.

I make healthy decisions for myself, whether it is regarding food or actions. No one’s opinion is worth my worry. I disregard the petty, frivolous details and focus on what is important to me, my future, and my family.

I am stronger faith-, moral-, and character-wise than I was two and a half years ago, which is part of what I was looking for in the first place. I left VT hoping to find the teenager who was brave and outgoing, and then to continue where she left off. I was surprised to find out that she has grown and matured, but still has that spark of life-on-the-edge inside. And that she’s been here with me all along. I just didn’t recognize her. So I may not be living in my little nest yet but the person who I am today is the person who will be living there, once I leave here to find it. I’ve been dealing with life’s quirks and details here exactly as I would if I were on ten mountain acres with chickens and a goat, or living thirty feet from the New England shore, walking barefoot in the sand after having worked the morning shift at a diner. Life doesn't improve due to a change of scenery, but because of a change in attitude. My life now is exactly as I would have imagined it, if I had imagined my real self in it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Life is a highway....

Many, many years ago I saw magazine ad with a photo something like this (but so much more professional). The exit sign stated that the reader (me) should break from the routine, go out and get some exercise, do something healthy. It didn’t seem to be an advertisement. I couldn’t find any reference to a product. But the photo obviously had quite an impact on me since I remember it 15 years later.

Today I present my rendition to you. Break from the routine, do something healthy, and have some fun.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One Small Change - update

This challenge has been easy and extremely satisfying. Whether due to being run in winter when I am most likely to be indoors, or the timing co-insided with my desire to learn something new, it is going very well.

My choice for January was to reduce (not completely eliminate) beef from my diet for two reasons. The first is to help reduce the destruction of natural resources necessary to produce a pound of beef. The second is for my health and eliminating excess fat from my diet. I have not had beef (or pork) since Dec 24th, and I’m not missing it so far.

What am I eating? I’ve had chicken once, and I schedule a fish meal three times per week. The exciting part is that I’ve been experimenting with grains and legumes. My youngest son had introduced me to quinoa over a year ago, suggesting it as a source of iron. I add steamed broccoli and top with peanut sauce for a quick, tasty meal. I started buying brown and wild rice from the bulk bins at the natural foods stores to use as the base of a stir fry with slivered carrots, onions, bok choy, and celery. Last year I had learned to make a decent veggie burger from lentils so I decided to experiment with dried garbanzos, soaking and mashing, then mixing with cumin, coriander, turmeric and peas. I cooked them similar to a potato cake, with a side of steamed carrots. The possibilities are endless. The secret is to use spices and make it tasty.

I’m sure I can easily make it through January. I can have beef if I really want it, but right now I’ll pass.

I’ve also started refusing plastic bags if I run into a store for something small, like the sewing machine belt I bought at JoAnn’s. And I’ve been eyeing the orange rind in my garbage pail, thinking about redworms……

Sunday, January 10, 2010

How cool is that!

It was my usual busy Saturday after a hectic week at work. On Saturdays I make a 35+ mile round trip to visit with my mother, spend time with her, and take her shopping. On the trip back home I do my grocery shopping and stop for any errands that are on my agenda. So after an easy supper (leftovers from the night before), I cracked open the laptop and starting catching up on my favorite blogs.

Well, I'll be! My eyes widened and I had to re-read Crunchy Chicken’s post 3 times. That was me on there! I had won her giveaway of the No Impact Man book! (I couldn’t even get two matching numbers on a Powerball ticket. Maybe my luck is changing!)

I have read Colin’s blog for about a year and Deanna’s for much longer than that. They are two of the “lights” leading my path to eco-awareness, along with sooo many other environmentally conscious bloggers. There’s a lot to learn out there and a lot of good “teachers”.

What a surprise, and a nice end to my day. I'm hoping you all have some good surprises this weekend!

Friday, January 8, 2010


I have wonderful friends and family who wish the best for me. I am always in their thoughts and prayers. At least, that’s what you would think by the number of “FW: FW: FW: Don’t break this or …..” emails they send to me. They want me to be rich, have my wishes granted, and hear something that I’ve been waiting for by tomorrow morning. Of course, they always remember to warn me that if I don’t pass said email on to 8 more beautiful women within 8 minutes, I’ll have 8 years of bad luck. They are soooo thoughtful!

Last night I received the first one of these messages - on my CELL PHONE! Okay, that’s enough! I pay for text messages so I really did not appreciate that one.

It’s time to “clear out some clutter”. I am composing a polite email to send to my family and friends requesting that they refrain from adding me when they forward these chains. Actually, they can also skip me for the 101 uses for WD40, lighting candles, collecting bouquets of flowers, and anything that has already been FW: more than once in the subject line. Stop the mindless forwarding. Send me a nice note by email, I’d appreciate that. I don’t need five jokes from the same person every day.

I sincerely hope they understand it’s nothing personal. It’s not them, it’s me. Really. Let’s think about the person at the other end of the wireless when we send these things.

Oh, by the way, please send this to 14 more friends within 14 minutes of reading or…….JUST KIDDING!

Have a great weekend! And that’s not spam.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Looks like more changes are coming!

Wow, I've got some homework to do now. I'm impressed by the comments/suggestions in my last post and want to learn more about the worm bins suggested by Sharon and Kate. I've got a small deck off the kitchen where I have my "garden" in the summer. I'm sure I could squeeze in some "critters" :) So Sharon, I'll be contacting you for info!

Regarding the home made detergent, here is a link with 10 "recipes". Some are powdered, some are liquid. I make a powdered mix, basically because I don't want to make a mess. I use about a scoop per laundry load so it lasts for a looong time. I have made it both with and without the grated soap, and either way is acceptable to me. The process of cleaning clothing is really having water and cleaning product pass through the fibers, then rinse out. I don't go for all the fancy products as long as my whites come out white.

I use a rack to dry as much as possible. Sheets, towels, and jeans get tossed into the dryer due to lack of space. Seriously, in a one bedroom condo I'd be hanging them as drapes!

Gardening, recycling, cloth bags, cutting back on meat, it all counts. I'm glad there are so many folks out there who are doing these *little* things to help save energy and resources. We're all in this together.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

One Small Change

While reading Rob’s blog, I found out about Hip Mountain Mama’s One Small Change challenge. She has had the insight to ask folks to make one environmentally beneficial change in their lives each month between now and April 22nd, which is Earth Day. I like it. I really like it. If we each do something, no matter how small, then we’re changing a mindset. And if we commit to doing it for a manageable amount of time, we might just keep on doing it – forever.

I starting browsing through the links on the Community of Change page to see what everyone was “changing”, and spent quite a bit of time getting through the posts! Now that’s testimony to a great idea!

I’ve been living a fairly eco-friendly life for many years. As Walter Brennan's character said in The Guns of Will Sonnett, “No brag, just fact.” My utility bills are very much under control, I shop at thrift stores, I bring my lunch to work, have a KleenKanteen for cold drinks and a canning jar to carry my coffee, borrow books from the library or buy used, mix my own detergent, shop at the Farmers’ Market (when they are open in spring-summer-fall), buy earth-friendly products for shampoo and soaps, bring my own shopping and produce bags, buy from the bulk bins (nuts, sugar, oatmeal, flours, wild and brown rices, grains, and maple syrup), signed up on the no-junk-mail list, recycle (although options in my city are limited), and a few others that evade my memory just now. My paper towel usage was a total of two rolls for 2009, by using cloth cleaning rags.

Living in a condo prevents me from composting, installing solar panels or raising my own animals, but that’s food for future thoughts.

What I have started this year is to reduce my consumption of meat, red meat in particular but any meat in general. Due to the enormous amount of earth energy usage necessary to produce a pound of beef versus the minute amount it takes for the equivalent of alternative protein, along with the fact that we consume far too much red meat for our health, I’m giving up beef for the interim. This will be my January change. I enjoy legumes and grains and decided to expand my range in the protein area. My lunch and dinner proteins have consisted of quinoa, lentil burgers, wild and brown rice stir fries, and tuna. So far I’m extremely satisfied, and don’t feel deprived at all. I bought some amaranth to try tomorrow.

For February I want to experiment with cold-brewed coffee. I make a small pot of coffee each morning, which usually stays on for an hour while I sip a few cups and scan the headlines - and my friends’ blogs :) . I’d like to get the knack of cold-brewed coffee so I can just pop a cup in the microwave rather than waste the energy of running the coffeemaker and leaving it on to stay warm every morning.

For March I’d like to make the switch to home-mixed deodorant. I’ve had good luck with baking soda in fall, winter, and early spring, but it doesn’t quite cut it in summer. I’ve found a few “recipes” (see here and here) to try in March so that I can have options ready for the hot days in July.

Hopefully, in April, the weather will be warm enough to start riding my bike to work again.

It’s not like it’s a big commitment or anything. Just trying to save a small piece of the earth. :) Want to help?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Past Due Tuesday #9 - borrowed, again!

Like most folks, I scan the headlines every morning. I like to think it's because I want to be informed. I like to have "intelligent" conversations, and not just toss out an unfounded opinion.

But my favorite news articles are the quirky ones. The ones with those useless bits of information. Maybe because I envy the people who are spotlighted in them, or maybe because they require no further study. There's no details to follow up the next day or the next week.

Today's NY Times has this neat little article about someone who is definitely keeping vintage ALIVE. It seems that Robert Warner was in the right place at the right time, with the right talent, and now has a job that I would love. He works with an antique printing press. Oh, to be creative and productive at doing something unique!

I hope you enjoy the article. Even if you never need the information again..... :)

Follow Past Due Tuesdays at Roomies. Perhaps you would like to post about a vintage item of your own and share! Have fun!

Baby, it's cold outside....

The holidays are over, the year-end reconciliations are under way at work, and the auditors will be there next week to review and bestow their blessing on last year's records. Amidst all the commotion, I decided that yesterday's lunch break would be the perfect time to enjoy a little nature. Once I was out there, however, it was reminiscent of the fable where the sun and the wind were in a competition over their respective strengths. The sun tried to make a man take off his hat and coat, while the wind fought to make him keep it on, or something to that effect. Whoever wrote that story must have spent time outside on a day like yesterday. The sun was outstanding. But when I started walking I realized that I should have dressed more warmly than my coat, scarf, hat, and gloves. Due to the icy wind, I needed a layer of thermals.

So it was a short walk.

These guys didn't mind the cold at all. They enjoyed paddling around in the icy water. I had to snap the photo quickly and move on. They have become so domesticated that they start quacking and rushing over to anyone who ventures near, anticipating food.

So this morning I went to the gym. :)

Friday, January 1, 2010


In the peaceful calm of the morning, I found prints from creatures who had recently passed through my area. "Tracking” is not solely a country sport. Prints are easily found in the city, however the timeline to find them is shorter due to being covered by the congestion or traffic. Early morning is the best time for this, when prints are fresh and undisturbed. Here are some of the prints I found this morning in the dusting of snow we had overnight.

A small creature, wandering alone.

A larger four-footed animal traveling with a large two-footed animal. This is a common occurence around here. These different species are known to depend upon each other for food or comfort.

Several large two-footed animals possibly looking for food, or attempting to prevent inevitable weight gain during dark winter months.

A crossing of paths between small and large creatures. It is amazing that they can co-exist in peace, adapting to each others habitats.

The fleeting "paintings" of a sprite believed to exist but never seen, very much like "Bigfoot" or the yeti. "Jack Frost" leaves his marks just before dawn on very cold nights.

These are some of the largest tracks found in this area, native to much of the "civilized" world. These creatures slumber at any time of the day, only awakening when being called upon to carry their owners to another location. They are completely dependent upon their owners, who are in turn dependent on them.

Get out there and have some fun in "Nature" today. You don't have to live in the country to enjoy the snow!